Jason Ediger

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Jason Ediger is a clinical psychologist in private practice at the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Institute of Manitoba. He has over 20 years of experience working directly with clients in a therapeutic setting. Dr. Ediger has a special interest in blending cognitive behaviour therapy with mindfulness and humanistic approaches to change and coping. He is also trained in eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR). His practice focuses on anxiety and trauma, mood difficulties, chronic pain and health concerns in adults and adolescents. He has extensive experience with disability claims and return to work issues. Dr. Ediger is also an associate professor in the department of Clinical Health Psychology for the Max Rady College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba, an adjunct professor at the Canadian Mennonite University, and a longstanding board member for the Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba. He has published in academic journals on areas of mental health and health psychology including anxiety, depression, medication adherence and inflammatory bowel disease. In his spare time, Dr. Ediger enjoys spending time with his family, fishing, and traveling.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

One of the things that I like about my job is the variety. I see clients in private practice, I do some consulting in rural areas, and I do some teaching both in the medical school and at the undergraduate level. A productive day is when you can meet someone where they are at and have a positive impact on their world. That may be adding to their knowledge, helping them feel understood, or supporting them in making necessary changes to their life.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I’m a big believer in experiential learning. Book learning is one thing, but going out and experiencing it is another. Behavioural experiments, and listening to the stories of other people can go a long way towards breathing life into ideas and learning.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I’m excited to see young people increasing in their compassion and understanding of those who are different. Schools are now safer places for those with learning challenges, mental health challenges, and alternative identities than they were when I was in school. There’s still lots of work to do, but the trend is towards more compassion and inclusion which is exciting.

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

I try to do tasks relatively quickly when the pop up, or schedule specific time to do them. Procrastinating inevitably leads to me forgetting about the task, rushing, and doing a poorer job on it.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Exercise and Sleep are health behaviours that are not optional and they affect so much more than just your body.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you on?

Just about everybody has some grain of goodness in them. People believe this in theory, but then quickly backtrack when confronted with their own personal monsters. People can do horrific things, even Hitler, and still have some good qualities. It doesn’t make them good people but it doesn’t make them all bad either. No one is all good or all bad! Humans are typically both.

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

Stop and breathe! Breathing is the swiss army knife of lifestyle interventions. It is useful for stress management, anxiety, decision making, pain management, high blood pressure, and a million other things. Proper breathing is also a skill we lose quickly under pressure and stress. Practicing it regularly keeps it available when we need it most.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

I stop and breathe. I might also do some progressive muscle relaxation for a few minutes. Then regroup and refocus.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

I think it’s a mixture of saying yes to opportunities when they come up, and working to treat people well. If you meet people where they are at, give them respect, and say yes when opportunities arise, then typically people will want to work with you and more opportunities will show up too.

What is one failure in your career,  how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

I didn’t get a residency slot the first time I applied. It taught me to not take all developments personally, to make adjustments to the things in my control, and to persevere.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Good professional support is worth its weight in gold. A good bookkeeper, accountant, and IT person will save you hours of time and energy that would be better spent doing the things in your business that you are good at and generate revenue.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

A good electronic medical record is essential to running a good private practice for me. It keeps me on top of my charting, and simplifies appointments and billing, It provides automated reminders to clients and makes necessary information available to me regardless of my location.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast you’ve gotten a ton of value from and why?

Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankle, is a classic book that I recommend all the time. It helps us remember that it’s not just what we do that matters, but why we do it. That is often the difference between misery and contentment.

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

I recently watched the Hobbit trilogy. I’ve read the book many times, but hadn’t gotten around to the movie yet. It’s pure escapism and brought me back to characters I have loved for a long time!

Key learnings

  • Stop and Breathe
  • The ‘Why” matters
  • Live your values
  • Ask for help